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A Popular History of France From The Earliest Times
The Hundred Years' War. - Charles V.
by Guizot, M.


So soon as Marcel and three of his chief confidants had been put to death at the St. Anthony gate, at the very moment when they were about to open it to the English, John Maillart had information sent to the regent, at that time at Charenton, with an urgent entreaty that he would come back to Paris without delay. "The news, at once spread abroad through the city, was received with noisy joy there, and the red caps, which had been worn so proudly the night before, were everywhere taken off and hidden. The next morning a proclamation ordered that whosoever knew any of the faction of Marcel should arrest them and take them to the Chatelet, but without laying hands on their goods and without maltreating their wives or children. Several were taken, put to the question, brought out into the public square, and beheaded by virtue of a decree. They were the men who but lately had the government of the city and decided all matters. Some were burgesses of renown, eloquent and learned, and one of them, on arriving at the square, cried out, 'Woe is me! Would to Heaven, O King of Navarre, that I had never seen thee or heard thee!'" On the 2d of August, 1358, in the evening, the dauphin, Charles, re-entered Paris, and was accompanied by John Maillart, who "was mightily in his grace and love." On his way a man cried out, "By God, sir, if I had been listened to, you would never have entered in here; but, after all, you will get but little by it." The Count of Tancarville, who was in the prince's train, drew his sword, and "spurred his horse upon this rascal;" but the dauphin restrained him, and contented himself with saying smilingly to the man, "You will not be listened to, fair sir." Charles had the spirit of coolness and discretion; and "he thought," says his contemporary, Christine de Pisan, "that if this fellow had been slain, the city which had been so rebellious might probably have been excited thereby." Charles, on being resettled in Paris, showed neither clemency nor cruelty. He let the reaction against Stephen Marcel run its course, and turned it to account without further exciting it or prolonging it beyond measure. The property of some of the condemned was confiscated; some attempts at a conspiracy for the purpose of avenging the provost of trades-men were repressed with severity, and John Maillart and his family were loaded with gifts and favors. On becoming king, Charles determined himself to hold his son at the baptismal font; but Robert Lecocq, Bishop of Laon, the most intimate of Marcel's accomplices, returned quietly to his diocese; two of Marcel's brothers, William and John, owing their protection, it is said, to certain youthful reminiscences on the prince's part, were exempted from all prosecution; Marcels widow even recovered a portion of his property; and as early as the 10th of August, 1358, Charles published an amnesty, from which he excepted only "those who had been in the secret council of the provost of tradesmen in respect of the great treason;" and on the same day another amnesty quashed all proceedings for deeds done during the Jacquery, "whether by nobles or ignobles." Charles knew that in acts of rigor or of grace impartiality conduces to the strength and the reputation of authority.

The death of Stephen Marcel and the ruin of his party were fatal to the plots and ambitious hopes of the King of Navarre. At the first moment he hastened to renew his alliance with the King of England, and to recommence war in Normandy, Picardy, and Champagne against the regent of France. But several of his local expeditions were unsuccessful; the temperate and patient policy of the regent rallied round him the populations aweary of war and anarchy; negotiations were opened between the two princes; and their agents were laboriously discussing conditions of peace when Charles of Navarre suddenly interfered in person, saying, "I would fain talk over matters with the lord duke regent, my brother." We know that his wife was Joan of France, the dauphin's sister. "Hereat there was great joy," says the chronicler, "amongst their councillors. The two princes met, and the King of Navarre with modesty and gentleness addressed the regent in these terms: 'My lord duke and brother, know that I do hold you to be my proper and especial lord; though I have for a long while made war against you and against France, our country, I wish not to continue or to foment it; I wish henceforth to be a good Frenchman, your faithful friend and close ally, your defender against the English and whoever it may be: I pray you to pardon me thoroughly, me and mine, for all that I have done to you up to this present. I wish for neither the lands nor the towns which are offered to me or promised to me; if I order myself well, and you find me faithful in all matters, you shall give me all that my deserts shall seem to you to justify.' At these words the regent arose and thanked the king with much sweetness; they, one and the other, proffered and accepted wine and spices; and all present rejoiced greatly, rendering thanks to God, who doth blow where He listeth, and doth accomplish in a moment that which men with their own sole intelligence have nor wit nor power to do in a long while. The town of Melun was restored to the lord duke; the navigation of the river once more became free up stream and down; great was the satisfaction in Paris and throughout the whole country; and peace being thus made, the two princes returned both of them home."

The King of Navarre knew how to give an appearance of free will and sincerity to changes of posture and behavior which seemed to be pressed upon him by necessity; and we may suppose that the dauphin, all the while that he was interchanging graceful acts, was too well acquainted by this time with the other to become his dupe; but, by their apparent reconciliation, they put an end, for a few brief moments, between themselves to a position which was burdensome to both.

Whilst these events, from the battle of Poitiers to the death of Stephen Marcel (from the 19th of September, 1356, to the 1st of August, 1358), were going on in France, King John was living as a prisoner in the hands of the English, first at Bordeaux, and afterwards in London, and was much more concerned about the reception he met with, and the galas he was present at, than about the affairs of his kingdom. When, after his defeat, he was conducted to Bordeaux by the Prince of Wales, who was governor of English Aquitaine, he became the object of the most courteous attentions, not only on the part of his princely conqueror, but of all Gascon society, "dames and damsels, old and young, and their fair attendants, who took pleasure in consoling him by providing him with diversion." Thus he passed the winter of 1356; and in the spring the Prince of Wales received from his father, King Edward III., the instructions and the vessels he had requested for the conveyance of his prisoner to England. In the month of May, 1357, "he summoned," says Froissart, "all the highest barons of Gascony, and told them that he had made up his mind to go to England, whither he would take some of them, leaving the rest in the country of Bordelais and Gascony, to keep the land and the frontiers against the French. When the Gaseous heard that the Prince of Wales would carry away out of their power the King of France, whom they had helped to take, they were by no means of accord therewith, and said to the prince, 'Dear sir, we owe you, in all that is in our power, all honor, obedience, and loyal service; but it is not our desire that you should thus remove from us the King of France, in respect of whom we have had great trouble to put him in the place where he is; for, thank God, he is in a good strong city, and we are strong and men enough to keep him against the French, if they by force would take him from you.' The prince answered, 'Dear sirs, I grant it heartily; but my lord my father wishes to hold and behold him; and with the good service that you have done my father, and me also, we are well pleased, and it shall be handsomely requited.' Nevertheless, these words did not suffice to appease the Gascons, until a means thereto was found by Sir Reginald de Cobham and Sir John Chandos; for they knew the Gascons to be very covetous. So they said to the prince, 'Sir, offer them a sum of florins, and you will see them come down to your demands.' The prince offered them sixty thousand florins; but they would have nothing to do with them. At last there was so much haggling that an agreement was made for a hundred thousand francs, which the prince was to hand over to the barons of Gascony to share between them. He borrowed the money; and the said sum was paid and handed over to them before the prince started. When these matters were done, the prince put to sea with a fine fleet, crammed with men-at-arms and archers, and put the King of France in a vessel quite apart, that he might be more at his ease."

"They were at sea eleven days and eleven nights," continues Froissart, and on the 12th they arrived at Sandwich harbor, where they landed, and halted two days to refresh themselves and their horses. On the third day they set out and came to St. Thomas of Canterbury."

"When the news reached the King and Queen of England that the prince their son had arrived and had brought with him the King of France, they were greatly rejoiced thereat, and gave orders to the burgesses of London to get themselves ready in as splendid fashion as was beseeming to receive the King of France. They of the city of London obeyed the king's commandment, and arrayed themselves by companies most richly, all the trades in cloth of different kinds." According to the poet herald-at-arms of John Chandos, King Edward III. went in person, with his barons and more than twenty counts, to meet King John, who entered London "mounted on a tall white steed right well harnessed and accoutred at all points, and the Prince of Wales, on a little black hackney, at his side." King John was first of all lodged in London at the Savoy hotel, and shortly afterwards removed, with all his people, to Windsor; "there," says Froissart, "to hawk, hunt, disport himself, and take his pastime according to his pleasure, and Sir Philip, his son, also; and all the rest of the other lords, counts, and barons, remained in London, but they went to see the king when it pleased them, and they were put upon their honor only." Chandos's poet adds, "Many a dame and many a damsel, right amiable, gay, and lovely, came to dance there, to sing, and to cause great galas and jousts, as in the days of King Arthur."

In the midst of his pleasures in England King John sometimes also occupied himself at Windsor with his business in France, but with no more wisdom or success than had been his wont during his actual reign. Towards the end of April, 1359, the dauphin-regent received at Paris the text of a treaty which the king his father had concluded, in London, with the King of England. "The cession of the western half of France, from Calais to Bayonne, and the immediate payment of four million golden crowns," such was, according to the terms of this treaty, the price of King John's ransom, says M. Picot, in his work concerning the History of the States-General, which was crowned in 1869 by the Academie des Sciences Morales et Politiques, and the regent resolved to leave to the judgment of France the acceptance or refusal of such exorbitant demands. He summoned a meeting, to be held at Paris on the 19th of May, of churchmen, nobles, and deputies from the good towns; but "there came but few deputies, as well because full notice had not by that time been given of the said summons, as because the roads were blocked by the English and the Navarrese, who occupied fortresses in all parts whereby it was possible to get to Paris." The assembly had to be postponed from day to day. At last, on the 25th of May, the regent repaired to the palace. He halted on the marble staircase; around him were ranged the three estates; and a numerous multitude filled the court-yard. In presence of all the people, William de Dormans, king's advocate in parliament, read the treaty of peace, which was to divide the kingdom into two parts, so as to hand over one to the foes of France. The reading of it roused the indignation of the people. The estates replied that the treaty was not "tolerable or feasible," and in their patriotic enthusiasm "decreed to make fair war on the English." But it was not enough to spare the kingdom the shame of such a treaty; it was necessary to give the regent the means of concluding a better. On the 2d of June, the nobles announced to the dauphin that they would serve for a month at their own expense, and that they would pay besides such imposts as should be decreed by the good towns. The churchmen also offered to pay them. The city of Paris undertook to maintain "six hundred swords, three hundred archers, and a thousand brigands." The good towns offered twelve thousand men; but they could not keep their promise, the country being utterly ruined.

When King John heard at Windsor that the treaty, whereby he had hoped to be set at liberty, had been rejected at Paris, he showed his displeasure by a single outburst of personal animosity, saying, "Ah! Charles, fair son, you were counselled by the King of Navarre, who deceives you, and would deceive sixty such as you!" Edward III., on his side, at once took measures for recommencing the war; but before engaging in it he had King John removed from Windsor to Hertford Castle, and thence to Somerton, where he set a strong guard. Having thus made certain that his prisoner would not escape from him, he put to sea, and, on the 28th of October, 1359, landed at Calais with a numerous and well-supplied army. Then, rapidly traversing Northern France, he did not halt till he arrived before Rheims, which he was in hopes of surprising, and where, it is said, he purposed to have himself, without delay, crowned King of France. But he found the place so well provided, and the population so determined to make a good defence, that he raised the siege and moved on Chalons, where the same disappointment awaited him. Passing from Champagne to Burgundy, he then commenced the same course of scouring and ravaging; but the Burgundians entered into negotiations with him, and by a treaty concluded on the 10th of March, 1360, and signed by Joan of Auvergne, Queen of France, second wife of King John, and guardian of the young Duke of Burgundy, Philip de Rouvre, they obtained, at the cost of two hundred thousand golden sheep (moutons), an agreement that for three years Edward and his army "would not go scouring and burning" in Burgundy, as they were doing in the other parts of France. Such was the powerlessness, or rather absence, of all national government, that a province made a treaty all alone, and on its own account, without causing the regent to show any surprise, or to dream of making any complaint.

As a make-weight, at this same time, another province, Picardy, aided by many Normans and Flemings, its neighbors, "nobles, burgesses, and common-folk," was sending to sea an expedition which was going to "try, with God's help, to deliver King John from his prison in England, and bring him back in triumph to his kingdom." "Thus," says the chronicler, "they who, God-forsaken or through their own faults, could not defend themselves on the soil of their fathers, were going abroad to seek their fortune and their renown, to return home covered with honor and boasting of divine succor! The Picard expedition landed in England on the 14th of March, 1360; it did not deliver King John, but it took and gave over to flames and pillage for two days the town of Winchelsea, after which it put to sea again, and returned to its hearths." (The Continuer of William of Nangis, t. ii. p. 298.)

Edward III., weary of thus roaming with his army over France without obtaining any decisive result, and without even managing to get into his hands any one "of the good towns which he had promised himself," says Froissart, "that he would tan and hide in such sort that they would be glad to come to some accord with him," resolved to direct his efforts against the capital of the kingdom, where the dauphin kept himself close. On the 7th of April, 1360, he arrived hard by Montrouge, and his troops spread themselves over the outskirts of Paris in the form of an investing or besieging force. But he had to do with a city protected by good ramparts, and well supplied with provisions, and with a prince cool, patient, determined, free from any illusion as to his danger or his strength, and resolved not to risk any of those great battles of which he had experienced the sad issue. Foreseeing the advance of the English, he had burned the villages in the neighborhood of Paris, where they might have fixed their quarters; he did the same with the suburbs of St. Germain, St. Marcel, and Notre-Dame-des-Champs; he turned a deaf ear to all King Edward's warlike challenges; and some attempts at an assault on the part of the English knights, and some sorties on the part of the French knights, impatient of their inactivity, came to nothing. At the end of a week Edward, whose "army no longer found aught to eat," withdrew from Paris by the Chartres road, declaring his purpose of entering "the good country of Beauce, where he would recruit himself all the summer," and whence he would return after vintage to resume the siege of Paris, whilst his lieutenants would ravage all the neighboring provinces. When he was approaching Chartres, "there burst upon his army," says Froissart, "a tempest, a storm, an eclipse, a wind, a hail, an upheaval so mighty, so wondrous, so horrible, that it seemed as if the heaven were all a-tumble, and the earth were opening to swallow up everything; the stones fell so thick and so big that they slew men and horses, and there was none so bold but that they were all dismayed. There were at that time in the army certain wise men, who said that it was a scourge of God, sent as a warning, and that God was showing by signs that He would that peace should be made." Edward had by him certain discreet friends, who added their admonitions to those of the tempest. His cousin, the Duke of Lancaster, said to him, "My lord, this war that you are waging in the kingdom of France is right wondrous, and too costly for you; your men gain by it, and you lose your time over it to no purpose; you will spend your life on it, and it is very doubtful whether you will attain your desire; take the offers made to you now, whilst you can come out with honor; for, my lord, we may lose more in one day than we have won in twenty years." The Regent of France, on his side, indirectly made overtures for peace; the Abbot of Cluny, and the General of the Dominicans, legates of Pope Innocent VI., warmly seconded them; and negotiations were opened at the hamlet of Bretigny, close to Chartres. "The King of England was a hard nut to crack," says Froissart; he yielded a little, however, and on the 8th of May, 1360, was concluded the treaty of Bretigny, a peace disastrous indeed, but become necessary. Aquitaine ceased to be a French fief, and was exalted, in the King of England's interest, to an independent sovereignty, together with the provinces attached to Poitou, Saintonge, Aunis, Agenois, Perigord, Limousin, Quercy, Bigorre, Angoumois, and Rouergue. The King of England, on his side, gave up completely to the King of France Normandy, Maine, and the portion of Touraine and Anjou situated to the north of the Loire. He engaged, further, to solemnly renounce all pretensions to the crown of France so soon as King John had renounced all rights of suzerainty over Aquitaine. King John's ransom was fixed at three millions of golden crowns, payable in six years, and John Galeas Visconti, Duke of Milan, paid the first instalment of it (six hundred thousand florins) as the price of his marriage with Isabel of France, daughter of King John. Hard as these conditions were, the peace was joyfully welcomed in Paris, and throughout Northern France; the bells of the country churches, as well as of Notre-Dame in Paris, songs and dances amongst the people, and liberty of locomotion and of residence secured to the English in all places, "so that none should disquiet them or insult them," bore witness to the general satisfaction. But some of the provinces ceded to the King of England had great difficulty in resigning themselves to it. "In Poitou, and in all the district of Saintonge," says Froissart, "great was the displeasure of barons, knights, and good towns when they had to be English. The town of La Rochelle was especially unwilling to agree thereto; it is wonderful what sweet and piteous words they wrote, again and again, to the King of France, begging him, for God's sake, to be pleased not to separate them from his own domains, or place them in foreign hands, and saying that they would rather be clipped every year of half their revenue than pass into the hands of the English. And when they saw that neither excuses, nor remonstrances, nor prayers were of any avail, they obeyed, but the men of most mark in the town said, 'We will recognize the English with the lips, but the heart shall beat to it never.'" Thus began to grow in substance and spirit, in the midst of war and out of disaster itself [per damna, per caedes ab ipso Duxit opes animumque ferro], that national patriotism which had hitherto been such a stranger to feudal France, and which was so necessary for her progress towards unity—the sole condition for her of strength, security, and grandeur, in the state characteristic of the European world since the settlement of the Franks in Gaul.

Having concluded the treaty of Bretigny, the King of England returned on the 18th of May, 1360, to London; and, on the 8th of July following, King John, having been set at liberty, was brought over by the Prince of Wales to Calais, where Edward III. came to meet him. The two kings treated one another there with great courtesy. "The King of England," says Froissart, "gave the King of France at Calais Castle a magnificent supper, at which his own children, and the Duke of Lancaster, and the greatest barons of England, waited at table, bareheaded." Meanwhile the Prince-Regent of France was arriving at Amiens, and there receiving from his brother-in-law, Galdas Visconti, Duke of Milan, the sum necessary to pay the first instalment of his royal father's ransom. Payment having been made, the two kings solemnly ratified at Calais the treaty of Britigny. Two sons of King John, the Duke of Anjou and the Duke of Berry, with several other personages of consideration, princes of the blood, barons, and burgesses of the principal good towns, were given as hostages to the King of England for the due execution of the treaty; and Edward III. negotiated between the King of France and Charles the Bad, King of Navarre, a reconciliation precarious as ever. The work of pacification having been thus accomplished, King John departed on foot for Boulogne, where he was awaited by the dauphin, his son, and where the Prince of Wales and his two brothers, like-wise on foot, came and joined him. All these princes passed two days together at Boulogne in religious ceremonies and joyous galas; after which the Prince of Wales returned to Calais, and King John set out for Paris, which he once more entered, December 13, 1360. "He was welcomed there," says Froissart, "by all manner of folk, for he had been much desired there. Rich presents were made him; the prelates and barons of his kingdom came to visit him; they feasted him and rejoiced with him, as it was seemly to do; and the king received them sweetly and handsomely, for well he knew how."

And that was all King John did know. When he was once more seated on his throne, the counsels of his eldest son, the late regent, induced him to take some wise and wholesome administrative measures. All adulteration of the coinage was stopped; the Jews were recalled for twenty years, and some securities were accorded to their industry and interests; and an edict renewed the prohibition of private wars. But in his personal actions, in his bearing and practices as a king, the levity, frivolity, thoughtlessness, and inconsistency of King John were the same as ever. He went about his kingdom, especially in Southern France, seeking everywhere occasions for holiday-making and disbursing, rather than for observing and reforming the state of the country. During the visit he paid in 1362 to the new pope, Urban V., at Avignon, he tried to get married to Queen Joan of Naples, the widow of two husbands already, and, not being successful, he was on the point of involving himself in a new crusade against the Turks. It was on his return from this trip that he committed the gravest fault of his reign, a fault which was destined to bring upon France and the French kingship even more evils and disasters than those which had made the treaty of Bretigny a necessity. In 1362, the young Duke of Burgundy, Philip de Louvre, the last of the first house of the Dukes of Burgundy, descendants of King Robert, died without issue, leaving several pretenders to his rich inheritance. King John was, according to the language of the genealogists, the nearest of blood, and at the same time the most powerful; and he immediately took possession of the duchy, went, on the 23d of December, 1362, to Dijon, swore on the altar of St. Benignus that he would maintain the privileges of the city and of the province, and, nine months after, on the 6th of September, 1363, disposed of the duchy of Burgundy in the following terms: "Recalling again to memory the excellent and praise-worthy services of our right dearly beloved Philip, the fourth of our sons, who freely exposed himself to death with us, and, all wounded as he was, remained unwavering and fearless at the battle of Poitiers . . . we do concede to him and give him the duchy and peerage of Burgundy, together with all that we may have therein of right, possession, and proprietorship . . . for the which gift our said son hath done us homage as duke and premier peer of France." Thus was founded that second house of the Dukes of Burgundy which was destined to play, for more than a century, so great and often so fatal a part in the fortunes of France.

Whilst he was thus preparing a gloomy future for his country and his line, King John heard that his second son, the Duke of Anjou, one of the hostages left in the hands of the King of England as security for the execution of the treaty of Bretigny, had broken his word of honor and escaped from England, in order to go and join his wife at Guise Castle. Knightly faith was the virtue of King John; and it was, they say, on this occasion, that he cried, as he was severely upbraiding his son, that "if good faith were banished from the world, it ought to find an asylum in the hearts of kings." He announced to his councillors, assembled at Amiens, his intention of going in person to England. An effort was made to dissuade him; and "several prelates and barons of France told him that he was committing great folly when he was minded to again put himself in danger from the King of England. He answered that he had found in his brother, the King of England, in the Queen, and in his nephews, their children, so much loyalty, honor, and courtesy, that he had no doubt but that they would be courteous, loyal, and amiable to him, in any case. And so he was minded to go and make the excuses of his son, the Duke of Anjou, who had returned to France." According to the most intelligent of the chroniclers of the time, the Continuer of William of Nangis, "some persons said that the king was minded to go to England in order to amuse himself;" and they were probably right, for kingly and knightly amusements were the favorite subject of King John's meditations. This time he found in England something else besides galas; he before long fell seriously ill, "which mightily disconcerted the King and Queen of England, for the wisest in the country judged him to be in great peril." He died, in fact, on the 8th of April, 1364, at the Savoy Hotel, in London; "whereat the King of England, the Queen, their children, and many English barons were much moved," says Froissart, "for the honor of the great love which the King of France, since peace was made, had shown them." France was at last about to have in Charles V. a practical and an effective king.

In spite of the discretion he had displayed during his four years of regency (from 1356 to 1360), his reign opened under the saddest auspices. In 1363, one of those contagious diseases, all at that time called the plague, committed cruel ravages in France. "None," says the contemporary chronicler, "could count the number of the dead in Paris, young or old, rich or poor; when death entered a house, the little children died first, then the menials, then the parents. In the smallest villages, as well as in Paris, the mortality was such that at Argenteuil, for example, where there were wont to be numbered seven hundred hearths, there remained no more than forty or fifty." The ravages of the armed thieves, or bandits, who scoured the country added to those of the plague. Let it suffice to quote one instance. "In Beauce, on the Orleans and Chartres side, some brigands and prowlers, with hostile intent, dressed as pig-dealers or cow-drivers, came to the little castle of Murs, close to Corbeil, and finding outside the gate the master of the place, who was a knight, asked him to get them back their pigs, which his menials, they said, had the night before taken from them, which was false. The master gave them leave to go in, that they might discover their pigs and move them away. As soon as they had crossed the drawbridge they seized upon the master, threw off their false clothes, drew their weapons, and blew a blast upon the bagpipe; and forthwith appeared their comrades from their hiding-places in the neighboring woods. They took possession of the castle, its master and mistress, and all their folk; and, settling themselves there, they scoured from thence the whole country, pillaging everywhere, and filling the castle with the provisions they carried off. At the rumor of this thievish capture, many men-at-arms in the neighborhood rushed up to expel the thieves and retake from them the castle. Not succeeding in their assault, they fell back on Corbeil, and then themselves set to ravaging the country, taking away from the farm-houses provisions and wine without paying a dolt, and carrying them off to Corbeil for their own use. They became before long as much feared and hated as the brigands; and all the inhabitants of the neighboring villages, leaving their homes and their labor, took refuge, with their children and what they had been able to carry off, in Paris, the only place where they could find a little security." Thus the population was without any kind of regular force, anything like effectual protection; the temporary defenders of order themselves went over, and with alacrity too, to the side of disorder when they did not succeed in repressing it; and the men-at-arms set readily about plundering, in their turn, the castles and country-places whence they had been charged to drive off the plunderers.

Let us add a still more striking example of the absence of all publicly recognized power at this period, and of the necessity to which the population was nearly everywhere reduced of defending itself with its own hands, in order to escape ever so little from the evils of war and anarchy. It was a little while ago pointed out why and how, after the death of Marcel and the downfall of his faction, Charles the Bad, King of Navarre, suddenly determined upon making his peace with the regent of France. This peace was very displeasing to the English, allies of the King of Navarre, and they continued to carry on war, ravaging the country here and there, at one time victorious and at another vanquished in a multiplication of disconnected encounters. "I will relate," says the Continuer of William of Nangis, "one of those incidents just as it occurred in my neighborhood, and as I have been truthfully told about it. The struggle there was valiantly maintained by peasants, Jacques Bonhomme (Jack Goodfellows), as they are called. There is a place pretty well fortified in a little town named Longueil, not far from Compiegne, in the diocese of Beauvais, and near to the banks of the Oise. This place is close to the monastery of St. Corneille-de-Compiegne. The inhabitants perceived that there would be danger if the enemy occupied this point; and, after having obtained authority from the lord-regent of France and the abbot of the monastery, they settled themselves there, provided themselves with arms and provisions, and appointed a captain taken from among themselves, promising the regent that they would defend this place to the death. Many of the villagers came thither to place themselves in security, and they chose for captain a tall, fine man, named William a-Larks (aux Alouettes). He had for servant, and held as with bit and bridle, a certain peasant of lofty stature, marvellous bodily strength, and equal boldness, who had joined to these advantages an extreme modesty: he was called Big Ferre. These folks settled themselves at this point to the number of about two hundred men, all tillers of the soil, and getting a poor livelihood by the labor of their hands. The English, hearing it said that these folks were there and were determined to resist, held them in contempt, and went to them, saying, 'Drive we hence these peasants, and take we possession of this point so well fortified and well supplied.' They went thither to the number of two hundred. The folks inside had no suspicion thereof, and had left their gates open. The English entered boldly into the place, whilst the peasants were in the inner courts or at the windows, a-gape at seeing men so well armed making their way in. The captain, William a-Larks, came down at once with some of his people, and bravely began the fight; but he had the worst of it, was surrounded by the English, and himself stricken with a mortal wound. At sight hereof, those of his folk who were still in the courts, with Big Ferre at their head, said one to another, 'Let us go down and sell our lives clearly, else they will slay us without mercy.' Gathering themselves discreetly together, they went down by different gates, and struck out with mighty blows at the English, as if they had been beating out their corn on the threshing-floor; their arms went up and down again, and every blow dealt out a deadly wound. Big Ferre, seeing his captain laid low and almost dead already, uttered a bitter cry, and advancing upon the English he topped them all, as he did his own fellows, by a head and shoulders. Raising his axe, he dealt about him deadly blows, insomuch that in front of him the place was soon a void; he felled to the earth all those whom he could reach; of one he broke the head, of another he lopped off the arms; he bore himself so valiantly that in an hour he had with his own hand slain eighteen of them, without counting the wounded; and at this sight his comrades were filled with ardor. What more shall I say? All that band of English were forced to turn their backs and fly; some jumped into the ditches full of water; others tried with tottering steps to regain the gates. Big Ferre, advancing to the spot where the English had planted their flag, took it, killed the bearer, and told one of his own fellows to go and hurl it into a ditch where the wall was as not yet finished. 'I cannot,' said the other, 'there are still so many English yonder.' 'Follow me with the flag,' said Big Ferre; and marching in front, and laying about him right and left with his axe, he opened and cleared the way to the point indicated, so that his comrade could freely hurl the flag into the ditch. After he had rested a moment, he returned to the fight, and fell so roughly on the English who remained, that all those who could fly hastened to profit thereby. It is said that on that day, with the help of God and Big Ferre, who, with his own hand, as is certified, laid low more than forty, the greater part of the English who had come to this business never went back from it. But the captain on our side, William a-Larks, was there stricken mortally: he was not yet dead when the fight ended; he was carried away to his bed; he recognized all his comrades who were there, and soon afterwards sank under his wounds. They buried him in the midst of weeping, for he was wise and good."

"At the news of what had thus happened at Longueil the English were very disconsolate, saying that it was a shame that so many and such brave warriors should have been slain by such rustics. Next day they came together again from all their camps in the neighborhood, and went and made a vigorous attack at Longueil on our folks, who no longer feared them hardly at all, and went out of their walls to fight them. In the first rank was Big Ferre, of whom the English had heard so much talk. When they saw him, and when they felt the weight of his axe and his arm, many of those who had come to this fight would have been right glad not to be there. Many fled or were grievously wounded or slain. Some of the English nobles were taken. If our folks had been willing to give them up for money, as the nobles do, they might have made a great deal; but they would not.

"When the fight was over, Big Ferre, overcome with heat and fatigue, drank a large quantity of cold water, and was forthwith seized of a fever. He put himself to bed without parting from his axe, which was so heavy that a man of the usual strength could scarcely lift it from the ground with both hands. The English, hearing that Big Ferre was sick, rejoiced greatly, and for fear he should get well they sent privily, round about the place where he was lodged, twelve of their men bidden to try and rid them of him. On espying them from afar, his wife hurried up to his bed where he was laid, saying to him, 'My dear Ferre, the English are coming, and I verily believe it is for thee they are looking; what wilt thou do?' Big Ferre, forgetting his sickness, armed himself in all haste, took his axe which had already stricken to death so many foes, went out of his house, and entering into his little yard, shouted to the English as soon as he saw them, 'Ah! scoundrels, you are coming to take me in my bed; but you shall not get me.' He set himself against a wall to be in surety from behind, and defended himself manfully with his good axe and his great heart. The English assailed him, burning to slay or to take him; but he resisted them so wondrously, that he brought down five much wounded to the ground, and the other seven took to flight. Big Ferre, returning in triumph to his bed, and heated again by the blows he had dealt, again drank cold water in abundance, and fell sick of a more violent fever. A few days afterwards, sinking under his sickness, and after having received the holy sacraments, Big Ferre went out of this world, and was buried in the burial-place of his own village. All his comrades and his country wept for him bitterly, for, so long as he lived, the English would not have come nigh this place."

There is probably some exaggeration about the exploits of Big Ferre and the number of his victims. The story just quoted is not, however, a legend; authentic and simple, it has all the characteristics of a real and true fact, just as it was picked up, partly from eye-witnesses and partly from hearsay, by the contemporary narrator. It is a faithful picture of the internal state of the French nation in the fourteenth century; a nation in labor of formation, a nation whose elements, as yet scattered and incohesive, though under one and the same name, were fermenting each in its own quarter and independently of the rest, with a tendency to mutual coalescence in a powerful unity, but, as yet, far from succeeding in it.

Externally, King Charles V. had scarcely easier work before him. Between himself and his great rival, Edward III., King of England, there was only such a peace as was fatal and hateful to France. To escape some day from the treaty of Bretigny, and recover some of the provinces which had been lost by it—this was what king and country secretly desired and labored for. Pending a favorable opportunity for promoting this higher interest, war went on in Brittany between John of Montfort and Charles of Blois, who continued to be encouraged and patronized, covertly, one by the King of England, the other by the King of France. Almost immediately after the accession of Charles V. it broke out again between him and his brother-in-law, Charles the Bad, King of Navarre, the former being profoundly mistrustful, and the latter brazen-facedly perfidious, and both detesting one another, and watching to seize the moment for taking advantage one of the other. The states bordering on France, amongst others Spain and Italy, were a prey to discord and even civil wars, which could not fail to be a source of trouble or serious embarrassment to France. In Spain two brothers, Peter the Cruel and Henry of Transtamare, were disputing the throne of Castile. Shortly after the accession of Charles V., and in spite of his lively remonstrances, in 1267, Pope Urban V. quitted Avignon for Rome, whence he was not to return to Avignon till three years afterwards, and then only to die. The Emperor of Germany was, at this period, almost the only one of the great sovereigns of Europe who showed for France and her kings a sincere good will. When, in 1378, he went to Paris to pay a visit to Charles V., he was pleased to go to St. Denis to see the tombs of Charles the Handsome and Philip of Valois. "In my young days," he said to the abbot, "I was nurtured at the homes of those good kings, who showed me much kindness; I do request you affectionately to make good prayer to God for them." Charles V., who had given him a very friendly reception, was, no doubt, included in this pious request.

In order to maintain the struggle against these difficulties, within and without, the means which Charles V. had at his disposal were of but moderate worth. He had three brothers and three sisters calculated rather to embarrass and sometimes even injure him than to be of any service to him. Of his brothers, the eldest, Louis, Duke of Anjou, was restless, harsh, and bellicose. He upheld authority with no little energy in Languedoc, of which Charles had made him governor, but at the same time made it detested; and he was more taken up with his own ambitious views upon the kingdom of Naples, which Queen Joan of Hungary had transmitted to him by adoption, than with the interests of France and her king. The second, John, Duke of Berry, was an insignificant prince, who has left no strong mark on history. The third, Philip the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, after having been the favorite of his father, King John, was likewise of his brother Charles V., who did not hesitate to still farther aggrandize this vassal, already so great, by obtaining for him in marriage the hand of Princess Marguerite, heiress to the countship of Flanders; and this marriage, which was destined at a later period to render the Dukes of Burgundy such formidable neighbors for the Kings of France, was even in the lifetime of Charles V. a cause of unpleasant complications both for France and Burgundy. Of King Charles's three sisters, the eldest, Joan, was married to the King of Navarre, Charles the Bad, and much more devoted to her husband than to her brother; the second, Mary, espoused Robert, Duke of Bar, who caused more annoyance than he rendered service to his brother-in-law, the king of France; and the third, Isabel, wife of Galas Visconti, Duke of Milan, was of no use to her brother beyond the fact of contributing, as we have seen, by her marriage, to pay a part of King John's ransom. Charles V., by kindly and judicious behavior in the bosom of his family, was able to keep serious quarrels or embarrassments from arising thence; but he found therein neither real strength nor sure support.

His civil councillors, his chancellor, William de Dormans, cardinal-bishop of Beauvais, his minister of finance, John de la Grange, cardinal-bishop of Amiens; his treasurer, Philip de Savoisy; and his chamberlain and private secretary, Bureau de la Riviere, were, undoubtedly, men full of ability and zeal for his service, for he had picked them out and maintained them unchangeably in their offices. There is reason to believe that they conducted themselves discreetly, for we do not observe that after their master's death there was any outburst against them, on the part either of court or people, of that violent and deadly hatred which has so often caused bloodshed in the history of France. Bureau de la Riviere was attacked and prosecuted, without, however, becoming one of the victims of judicial authority at the command of political passions. None of Charles V.'s councillors exercised over his master that preponderating and confirmed influence which makes a man a premier minister. Charles V. himself assumed the direction of his own government, exhibiting unwearied vigilance, "but without hastiness and without noise." There is a work, as yet unpublished, of M. Leopold Delisle, which is to contain a complete explanatory catalogue of all the Mandements et Actes divers de Charles V. This catalogue, which forms a pendant to a similar work performed by M. Delisle for the reign of Philip Augustus, is not yet concluded; and, nevertheless, for the first seven years only of Charles V.'s reign, from 1364 to 1371, there are to be found enumerated and described in it eight hundred and fifty-four mandements, ordonnances et actes divers de Charles V., relating to the different branches of administration, and to daily incidents of government; acts all bearing the impress of an intellect active, farsighted, and bent upon becoming acquainted with everything, and regulating everything, not according to a general system, but from actual and exact knowledge. Charles always proved himself reflective, unhurried, and anxious solely to comport himself in accordance with the public interests and with good sense. He was one day at table in his room with some of his intimates, when news was brought him that the English had laid siege, in Guienne, to a place where there was only a small garrison, not in a condition to hold out unless it were promptly succored. "The king," says Christine de Pisan, "showed no great outward emotion, and quite coolly, as if the topic of conversation were something else, turned and looked about him, and, seeing one of his secretaries, summoned him courteously, and bade him, in a whisper, write word to Louis de Sancerre, his marshal, to come to him directly. They who were there were amazed that, though the matter was so weighty, the king took no great account of it. Some young esquires who were waiting upon him at table were bold enough to say to him, 'Sir, give us the money to fit ourselves out, as many of us are of your household, for to go on this business; we will be new-made knights, and will go and raise the siege.' The king began to smile, and said, 'It is not new-made knights that are suitable; they must be all old.' Seeing that he said no more about it, some of them added, 'What are your orders, sir, touching this affair, which is of haste?' 'It is not well to give orders in haste; when we see those to whom it is meet to speak, we will give our orders.'"

On another occasion, the treasurer of Nimes had died, and the king appointed his successor. His brother, the Duke of Anjou, came and asked for the place on behalf of one of his own intimates, saying that he to whom the king had granted it was a man of straw, and without credit. Charles caused inquiries to be made, and then said to the duke, "Truly, fair brother, he for whom you have spoken to me is a rich man, but one of little sense and bad behavior." "Assuredly," said the Duke of Anjou, "he to whom you have given the office is a man of straw, and incompetent to fill it." "Why, prithee?" asked the king. "Because he is a poor man, the son of small laboring folks, who are still tillers of the ground in our country." "Ah!" said Charles; "is there nothing more? Assuredly, fair brother, we should prize more highly the poor man of wisdom than the profligate ass;" and he maintained in the office him whom he had put there.

The government of Charles V. was the personal government of an intelligent, prudent, and honorable king, anxious for the interests of the state, at home and abroad, as well as for his own; with little inclination for, and little confidence in, the free co-operation of the country in its own affairs, but with wit enough to cheerfully call upon it when there was any pressing necessity, and accepting it then without chicanery or cheating, but safe to go back as soon as possible to that sole dominion, a medley of patriotism and selfishness, which is the very insufficient and very precarious resource of peoples as yet incapable of applying their liberty to the art of their own government. Charles V. had recourse three times, in July, 1367, and in May and December, 1369, to a convocation of the states-general, in order to be put in a position to meet the political and financial difficulties of France. At the second of these assemblies, when the chancellor, William de Dormans, had explained the position of the kingdom, the king himself rose up "for to say to all that if they considered that he had done anything he ought not to have done, they should tell him so, and he would amend what he had done, for there was still time to repair it, if he had done too much or not enough." The question at that time was as to entertaining the appeal of the barons of Aquitaine to the King of France as suzerain of the Prince of Wales, whose government had become intolerable, and to thus make a first move to struggle out of the humiliating pace of Bretigny. Such a step, and such words, do great honor to the memory of the pacific prince who was at that time bearing the burden of the government of France. It was Charles V.'s good fortune to find amongst his servants a man who was destined to be the thunderbolt of war and the glory of knighthood of his reign. About 1314, fifty years before Charles's accession, there was born at the castle of Motte-Broon, near Rennes, in a family which could reckon two ancestors amongst Godfrey de Bouillon's comrades in the first crusade, Bertrand du Guesclin, "the ugliest child from Rennes to Dinan," says a contemporary chronicle, flat-nosed and swarthy, thick-set, broad-shouldered, big-headed, a bad fellow, a regular wretch, according to his own mother's words, given to violence, always striking or being struck, whom his tutor abandoned without having been able to teach him to read. At sixteen years of age, he escaped from the paternal mansion, went to Rennes, entered upon a course of adventures, quarrels, challenges, and tourneys, in which he distinguished himself by his strength, his valor, and likewise his sense of honor. He joined the cause of Charles of Blois against John of Montfort, when the two were claimants for the duchy of Brittany; but at the end of thirty years, "neither the good of him, nor his prowess, were as yet greatly renowned," says Froissart, "save amongst the knights who were about him in the country of Brittany." But Charles V., at that time regent, had taken notice of him in 1359, at the siege of Melun, where Du Guesclin had for the first time borne arms in the service of France. When, in 1364, Charles became king, he said to Boucicaut, marshal of France, "Boucicaut, get you hence, with such men as you have, and ride towards Normandy; you will there find Sir Bertrand du Guesclin, hold yourselves in readiness, I pray you, you and he, to recover from the King of Navarre the town of Mantes, which would make us masters of the River Seine." "Right willingly, sir," answered Boucicaut; and a few weeks afterwards, on the 7th of April, 1364, Boucicaut, by stratagem, entered Mantes with his troop, and Du Guesclin, coming up suddenly with his, dashed into the town at a gallop, shouting, "St. Yves! Guesclin! death, death to all Navarrese!" The two warriors did the same next day at the gates of Meulan, three leagues from Mantes. "Thus were the two cities taken, whereat King Charles V. was very joyous when he heard the news; and the King of Navarre was very wroth, for he set down as great hurt the loss of Mantes and of Meulan, which made a mighty fine entrance for him into France."

It was at Rheims, during the ceremony of his coronation, that Charles V. heard of his two officers' success. The war thus begun against the King of Navarre was hotly prosecuted on both sides. Charles the Bad hastily collected his forces, Gascons, Normans, and English, and put them under the command of John de Grailli, called the Captal of Buch, an officer of renown. Du Guesclin recruited in Normandy, Picardy, and Brittany, and amongst the bands of warriors which were now roaming all over France. The plan of the Captal of Buch was to go and disturb the festivities at Rheims, but at Cockerel, on the banks of the Eure, two leagues from Evreux, he met the troops of Du Guesclin; and the two armies, pretty nearly equal in number, halted in view of one another. Du Guesclin held counsel, and said to his comrades in arms, "Sirs, we know that in front of us we have in the Captal as gallant a knight as can be found to-day on all the earth; so long as he shall be on the spot he will do us great hurt; set we then a-horseback thirty of ours, the most skilful and the boldest; they shall give heed to nothing but to make straight towards the Captal, break through the press, and get right up to him; then they shall take him, pin him, carry him off amongst them, and lead him away some whither in safety, without waiting for the end of the battle. If he can be taken and kept in such way, the day will be ours, so astounded will his men be at his capture." Battle ensued at all points [May 16, 1364]; and, whilst it led to various encounters, with various results, "the picked thirty, well mounted on the flower of steeds," says Froissart, "and with no thought but for their enterprise, came all compact together to where was the Captal, who was fighting right valiantly with his axe, and was dealing blows so mighty that none durst come nigh him; but the thirty broke through the press by dint of their horses, made right up to him, halted hard by him, took him and shut him in amongst them by force; then they voided the place, and bare him away in that state, whilst his men, who were like to mad, shouted, 'A rescue for the Captal! a rescue!' but nought could avail them, or help them; and the Captal was carried off and placed in safety. In this bustle and turmoil, whilst the Navarrese and English were trying to follow the track of the Captal, whom they saw being taken off before their eyes, some French agreed with hearty good will to bear down on the Captal's banner, which was in a thicket, and whereof the Navarrese made their own standard. Thereupon there was a great tumult and hard fighting there, for the banner was well guarded, and by good men; but at last it was seized, won, torn, and cast to the ground. The French were masters of the battle-field; Sir Bertrand and his Bretons acquitted themselves loyally, and ever kept themselves well together, giving aid one to another; but it cost them dear in men."

Charles was highly delighted, and, after the victory, resolutely discharged his kingly part, rewarding, and also punishing. Du Guesclin was made marshal of Normandy, and received as a gift the countship of Longueville, confiscated from the King of Navarre. Certain Frenchmen who had become confidants of the King of Navarre were executed, and Charles V. ordered his generals to no longer show any mercy for the future to subjects of the kingdom who were found in the enemy's ranks. The war against Charles the Bad continued. Charles V., encouraged by his successes, determined to take part likewise in that which was still going on between the two claimants to the duchy of Brittany, Charles of Blois and John of Montfort. Du Guesclin was sent to support Charles of Blois; "whereat he was greatly rejoiced," says Froissart, "for he had always held the said lord Charles for his rightful lord." The Count and Countess of Blois "received him right joyously and pleasantly, and the best part of the barons of Brittany likewise had lord Charles of Blois in regard and affection." Du Guesclin entered at once on the campaign, and marched upon Auray, which was being besieged by the Count of Montfort. But there he was destined to encounter the most formidable of his adversaries. John of Montfort had claimed the support of his patron, the king of England, and John Chandos, the most famous of the English commanders, had applied to the Prince of Wales to know what he was to do. "You may go full well," the prince had answered, "since the French are going for the Count of Blois; I give you good leave." Chandos, delighted, set hastily to work recruiting. Only a few Aquitanians decided to join him, for they were beginning to be disgusted with English rule, and the French national spirit was developing itself throughout Gascony, even in the Prince of Wales's immediate circle. Chandos recruited scarcely any but English or Bretons, and when, to the great joy of the Count of Montfort, he arrived before Auray, "he brought," says Froissart, "full sixteen hundred fighting men, knights, and squires, English and Breton, and about eight or nine hundred archers." Du Guesclin's troops were pretty nearly equal in number, and not less brave, but less well disciplined, and probably also less ably commanded. The battle took place on the 29th of September, 1364, before Auray. The attendant circumstances and the result have already been recounted in the twentieth chapter of this history; Charles of Blois was killed, and Du Guesclin was made prisoner. The cause of John of Montfort was clearly won; and he, on taking possession of the duchy of Brittany, asked nothing better than to acknowledge himself vassal of the King of France, and swear fidelity to him. Charles V. had too much judgment not to foresee that, even after a defeat, a peace which gave a lawful and definite solution to the question of Brittany, rendered his relations and means of influence with this important province much more to be depended upon than any success which a prolonged war might promise him. Accordingly he made peace at Guerande, on the 11th of April, 1365, after having disputed the conditions inch by inch; and some weeks previously, on the 6th of March, at the indirect instance of the King of Navarre, who, since the battle of Gocherel, had felt himself in peril, Charles V. had likewise put an end to his open struggle against his perfidious neighbor, of whom he certainly did not cease to be mistrustful. Being thus delivered from every external war and declared enemy, the wise King of France was at liberty to devote himself to the re-establishment of internal peace and of order throughout his kingdom, which was in the most pressing need thereof.

We have, no doubt, even in our own day, cruel experience of the disorders and evils of war; but we can form, one would say, but a very incomplete idea of what they were in the fourteenth century, without any of those humane administrative measures, still so ineffectual,—provisionings, hospitals, ambulances, barracks, and encampments,—which are taken in the present day to prevent or repair them. The Recueil des Ordonnances des Lois de France is full of safeguards granted by Charles V. to monasteries and hospices and communes, which implored his protection, that they might have a little less to suffer than the country in general. We will borrow from the best informed and the most intelligent of the contemporary chroniclers, the Continuer of William of Nangis, a picture of those sufferings and the causes of them. "There was not," he says, "in Anjou, in Touraine, in Beauce, near Orleans and up to the approaches of Paris, any corner of the country which was free from plunderers and robbers. They were so numerous everywhere, either in little forts occupied by them or in the villages and country-places, that peasants and tradesfolks could not travel but at great expense and great peril. The very guards told off to defend cultivators and travellers took part most shamefully in harassing and despoiling them. It was the same in Burgundy and the neighboring countries. Some knights who called themselves friends of the king and of the king's majesty, and whose names I am not minded to set down here, kept in their service brigands who were quite as bad. What is far more strange is, that when those folks went into the cities, Paris or elsewhere, everybody knew them and pointed them out, but none durst lay a hand upon them. I saw one night at Paris, in the suburb of St. Germain des Pres, while the people were sleeping, some brigands who were abiding with their chieftains in the city, attempting to sack certain hospices: they were arrested and imprisoned in the Chatelet; but, before long, they were got off, declared innocent, and set at liberty without undergoing the least punishment—a great encouragement for them and their like to go still farther. . . . When the king gave Bertrand du Guesclin the countship of Longueville, in the diocese of Rouen, which had belonged to Philip, brother of the King of Navarre, Du Guesclin promised the king that he would drive out by force of arms all the plunderers and robbers, those enemies of the kingdom; but he did nothing of the sort; nay, the Bretons even of Du Guesclin, on returning from Rouen, pillaged and stole in the villages whatever they found there— garments, horses, sheep, oxen, and beasts of burden and of tillage."

Charles V. was not, as Louis XII. and Henry IV. were, of a disposition full of affection, and sympathetically inclined towards his people; but he was a practical man, who, in his closet and in the library growing up about him, took thought for the interests of his kingdom as well as for his own; he had at heart the public good, and lawlessness was an abomination to him. He had just purchased, at a ransom of a hundred thousand francs, the liberty of Bertrand du Guesclin, who had remained a prisoner in the hands of John Chandos, after the battle of Auray. An idea occurred to him that the valiant Breton might be of use to him in extricating France from the deplorable condition to which she had been reduced by the bands of plunderers roaming everywhere over her soil. We find in the Chronicle in verse of Bertrand Guesclin, by Cuvelier, a troubadour of the fourteenth century, a detailed account of the king's perplexities on this subject, and of the measures he took to apply a remedy. We cannot regard this account as strictly historical; but it is a picture, vivid and morally true, of events and men as they were understood and conceived to be by a contemporary, a mediocre poet, but a spirited narrator. We will reproduce the principal features, modifying the language to make it more easily intelligible, but without altering the fundamental character.

"There were so many folk who went about pillaging the country of France that the king was sad and doleful at heart. He summoned his council, and said to them, 'What shall we do with this multitude of thieves who go about destroying our people? If I send against them my valiant baronage I lose my noble barons, and then I shall never more have any joy of my life. If any could lead these folk into Spain against the miscreant and tyrant Pedro, who put our sister to death, I would like it well, whatever it might cost me.'

"Bertrand du Guesclin gave ear to the king, and 'Sir King,' said he, 'it is my heart's desire to cross over the seas and go fight the heathen with the edge of the sword; but if I could come nigh this folk which Both anger you, I would deliver the kingdom from them.' 'I should like it well,' said the king. 'Say no more,' said Bertrand to him; 'I will learn their pleasure; give it no further thought.'

"Bertrand du Guesclin summoned his herald, and said to him, 'Go thou to the Grand Company and have all the captains assembled; thou wilt go and demand for me a safe-conduct, for I have a great desire to parley with them.' The herald mounted his horse, and went a-seeking these folk toward Chalon-sur-la-Saone. They were seated together at dinner, and were drinking good wine from the cask they had pierced. 'Sirs,' said the herald, 'the blessing of Jesus be on you! Bertrand du Guesclin prayeth you to let him parley with all in company.' 'By my faith, gentle herald,' said Hugh de Calverley, who was master of the English, 'I will readily see Bertrand here, and will give him good wine; I can well give it him, in sooth, I do assure you, for it costs me nothing.' Then the herald departed, and returned to his lord, and told the news of this company.

"So away rode Bertrand, and halted not; and he rode so far that he came to the Grand Company, and then did greet them. 'God keep,' said he, 'the companions I see yonder!' Then they bowed down; each abased himself. 'I vow to God,' said Bertrand, 'whosoever will be pleased to believe me; I will make you all rich.' And they answered, 'Right welcome here sir, we will all do whatsoever is your pleasure.' 'Sirs,' said Bertrand, 'be pleased to listen to me; wherefore I am come I will tell unto you. I come by order of the king in whose keeping is France, and who would be right glad, to save his people, that ye should come with me whither I should be glad to go into good company I fain would bring ye. If we would all of us look into our hearts, we might full truly consider that we have done enough to damn our souls; think we but how we have dealt with life, outraged ladies and burned houses, slain men, children, and everybody set to ransom, how we have eaten up cows, oxen, and sheep, drunk good wines, and done worse than robbers do. Let us do honor to God and forsake the devil. Ask, if it may please you, all the companions, all the knights, and all the barons; if you be of accord, we will go to the king, and I will have the gold got ready which we do promise you I would fain get together all my friends to make the journey we so strongly desire.'"

Du Guesclin then explained, in broad terms which left the choice to the Grand Company, what this journey was which was so much desired. He spoke of the King of Cyprus, of the Saracens of Granada, of the Pope of Avignon, and especially of Spain and the King of Castile, Pedro the Cruel, "scoundrel-murderer of his wife (Blanche of Bourbon)," on whom, above all, Du Gueselin wished to draw down the wrath of his hearers. "In Spain," he said to them, "we might largely profit, for the country is a good one for leading a good life, and there are good wines which are neat and clear." Nearly all present, whereof were twenty-five famous captains, "confirmed what was said by Bertrand." "Sirs," said he to them at last, "listen to me: I will go my way and speak to the King of the Franks; I will get for you those two hundred thousand francs; you shall come and dine with me at Paris, according to my desire, when the time shall have come for it; and you shall see the king, who will be rejoiced thereat. We will have no evil suspicion in anything, for I never was inclined to treason, and never shall be as long as I live." Then said the valiant knights and esquires to him, "Never was more valiant man seen on earth; and in you we have more belief and faith than in all the prelates and great clerics who dwell at Avignon or in France."

When Du Gueselin returned to Paris, "Sir," said he to the king, "I have accomplished your wish; I will put out of your kingdom all the worst folk of this Grand Company, and I will so work it that everything shall be saved." "Bertrand," said the king to him, "may the Holy Trinity be pleased to have you in their keeping, and may I see you a long while in joy and health!" "Noble king," said Bertrand, "the captains have a very great desire to come to Paris, your good city." "I am heartily willing," said the king; "if they come, let them assemble at the Temple; elsewhere there is too much people and too much abundance; there might be too much alarm. Since they have reconciled themselves to us, I would have nought but friendship with them."

The poet concludes the negotiation thus: "At the bidding of Bertrand, when he understood the pleasure of the noble King of France, all the captains came to Paris in perfect safety; they were conducted straight to the Temple; there they were feasted and dined nobly, and received many a gift, and all was sealed."

Matters went, at the outset at least, as Du Guesclin had promised to the king on the one side, and on the other to the captains of the Grand Company. There was, in point of fact, a civil war raging in Spain between Don Pedro the Cruel, King of Castile, and his natural brother, Henry of Transtamare, and that was the theatre on which Du Guesclin had first proposed to launch the vagabond army which he desired to get out of France. It does not appear, however, that at their departure from Burgundy at the end of November, 1365, this army and its chiefs had in this respect any well-considered resolution, or any well-defined aim in their movements. They made first for Avignon, and Pope Urban V., on hearing of their approach, was somewhat disquieted, and sent to them one of his cardinals to ask them what was their will. If we may believe the poet-chronicler, Cuvelier, the mission was anything but pleasing to the cardinal, who said to one of his confidants, "I am grieved to be set to this business, for I am sent to a pack of madmen who have not an hour's, nay, not even half-an-hour's conscience." The captains replied that they were going to fight the heathen either in Cyprus or in the kingdom of Granada, and that they demanded of the pope absolution of their sins and two hundred thousand livres, which Du Guesclin had promised them in his name. The pope cried out against this. "Here," said he, "at Avignon, we have money given us for absolution, and we must give it gratis to yonder folks, and give them money also: it is quite against reason." Du Guesclin insisted. "Know you," said he to the cardinal, "that there are in this army many folks who care not a whit for absolution, and who would much rather have money; we are making them proper men in spite of themselves, and are leading them abroad that they may do no mischief to Christians. Tell that to the pope; for else we could not take them away." The pope yielded, and gave them the two hundred thousand livres. He obtained the money by levies upon the population of Avignon. They, no doubt, complained loudly, for the chiefs of the Grand Company were informed thereof, and Du Guesclin said, "By the faith that I owe to the Holy Trinity, I will not take a denier of that which these poor folks have given; let the pope and the clerics give us of their own; we desire that all they who have paid the tax do recover their money without losing a doit;" and, according to contemporary chronicles, the vagabond army did not withdraw until they had obtained this satisfaction. The piety of the middle ages, though sincere, was often less disinterested and more rough than it is commonly represented.

On arriving at Toulouse from Avignon, Du Guesclin and his bands, with a strength, it is said, of thirty thousand men, took the decided resolution of going into Spain to support the cause of Prince Henry of Transtamare against the King of Castile his brother, Don Pedro the Cruel. The Duke of Anjou, governor of Languedoc, gave them encouragement, by agreement, no doubt with King Charles V., and from anxiety on his own part to rid his province of such inconvenient visitors. On the 1st of January, 1366, Du Guesclin entered Barcelona, whither Henry of Transtamare came to join him. There is no occasion to give a detailed account here of that expedition, which appertains much more to the history of Spain than to that of France. There was a brief or almost no struggle. Henry of Transtamare was crowned king, first at Calahorra, and afterwards at Burgos. Don Pedro, as much despised before long as he was already detested, fled from Castile to Andalusia, and from Andalusia to Portugal, whose king would not grant him an asylum in his dominions, and he ended by embarking at Coronna for Bordeaux, to implore the assistance of the Prince of Wales, who gave him a warm and a magnificent reception. Edward III., King of England, had been disquieted by the march of the Grand Company into Spain, and had given John Chandos and the rest of his chief commanders in Guienne orders to be vigilant in preventing the English from taking part in the expedition against his cousin the King of Castile; but several of the English chieftains, serving in the bands and with Du Guesclin, set at nought this prohibition, and contributed materially to the fall of Don Pedro. Edward III. did not consider that the matter was any infraction, on the part of France, of the treaty of Bretigne, and continued to live at peace with Charles V., testifying his displeasure, however, all the same. But when Don Pedro had reached Bordeaux, and had told the Prince of Wales that, if he obtained the support of England, he would make the prince's eldest son, Edward, king of Galicia, and share amongst the prince's warriors the treasure he had left in Castile, so well concealed that he alone knew where, "the knights of the Prince of Wales," says Froissart, "gave ready heed to his words, for English and Gascons are by nature covetous." The Prince of Wales immediately summoned the barons of Aquitaine, and on the advice they gave him sent four knights to London to ask for instructions from the king his father. Edward III. assembled his chief councillors at Westminster, and finally "it seemed to all course due and reasonable on the part of the Prince of Wales to restore and conduct the King of Spain to his kingdom; to which end they wrote official letters from the King and the council of England to the prince and the barons of Aquitaine. When the said barons heard the letters read they said to the prince, 'My lord, we will obey the command of the king our master and your father; it is but reason, and we will serve you on this journey and King Pedro also; but we would know who shall pay us and deliver us our wages, for one does not take men-at-arms away from their homes to go a warfare in a foreign land, without they be paid and delivered. If it were a matter touching our dear lord your father's affairs, or your own, or your honor or our country's, we would not speak thereof so much beforehand as we do.' Then the Prince of Wales looked towards the Prince Don Pedro, and said to him, 'Sir King, you hear what these gentlemen say; to answer is for you, who have to employ them.' Then the King Don Pedro answered the prince, 'My dear cousin, so far as my gold, my silver, and all my treasure which I have brought with me hither, and which is not a thirtieth part so great as that which there is yonder, will go, I am ready to give it and share it amongst your gentry.' 'You say well,' said the prince, 'and for the residue I will be debtor to them, and I will lend you all you shall have need of until we be in Castile.' 'By my head,' answered the King Don Pedro, you will do me great grace and great courtesy.'"

When the English and Gascon chieftains who had followed Du Guesclin into Spain heard of the resolutions of their king, Edward III., and the preparations made by the Prince of Wales for going and restoring Don Pedro to the throne of Castile, they withdrew from the cause which they had just brought to an issue to the advantage of Henry of Transtamare, separated from the French captain who had been their leader, and marched back into Aquitaine, quite ready to adopt the contrary cause, and follow the Prince of Wales in the service of Don Pedro. The greater part of the adventurers, Burgundian, Picard, Champagnese, Norman, and others who had enlisted in the bands which Du Guesclin had marched out of France, likewise quitted him, after reaping the fruits of their raid, and recrossed the Pyrenees to go and resume in France their life of roving and pillage. There remained in Spain about fifteen hundred men-at-arms faithful to Du Guesclin, himself faithful to Henry of Transtamare, who had made him Constable of Castile.

Amidst all these vicissitudes, and at the bottom of all events as well as of all hearts, there still remained the great fact of the period, the struggle between the two kings of France and England for dominion in that beautiful country which, in spite of its dismemberment, kept the name of France. Edward III. in London, and the Prince of Wales at Bordeaux, could not see, without serious disquietude, the most famous warrior amongst the French crossing the Pyrenees with a following for the most part French, and setting upon the throne of Castile a prince necessarily allied to the King of France. The question of rivalry between the two kings and the two peoples had thus been transferred into Spain, and for the moment the victory remained with France. After several months' preparation the prince of Wales, purchasing the complicity of the King of Navarre, marched into Spain in February, 1367, with an army of twenty-seven thousand men, and John Chandos, the most able of the English warriors. Henry of Transtamare had troops more numerous, but less disciplined and experienced. The two armies joined battle on the 3d of April, 1367, at Najara or Navarette, not far from the Ebro. Disorder and even sheer rout soon took place amongst that of Henry, who flung himself before the fugitives, shouting, "Why would ye thus desert and betray me, ye who have made me King of Castile? Turn back and stand by me; and by the grace of God the day shall be ours." Du Guesclin and his men-at-arms maintained the fight with stubborn courage, but at last they were beaten, and either slain or taken. To the last moment Du Guesclin, with his back against a wall, defended himself heroically against a host of assailants. The Prince of Wales, coming up, cried out, "Gentle marshals of France, and you too, Bertrand, yield yourselves to me." "Why, yonder men are my foes," cried the king, Don Pedro; "it is they who took from me my kingdom, and on them I mean to take vengeance." Du Guesclin, darting forward, struck so rough a blow with his sword at Don Pedro, that he brought him fainting to the ground, and then turning to the Prince of Wales said, "Nathless I give up my sword to the most valiant prince on earth." The Prince of Wales took the sword, and charged the Captal of Buch with the prisoner's keeping. "Aha! sir Bertrand," said the Captal to Du Guesclin, "you took me at the battle of Cocherel, and to-day I've got you." "Yes," replied Du Guesclin; "but at Cocherel I took you myself, and here you are only my keeper."

The battle of Najara being over, and Don Pedro the Cruel restored to a throne which he was not to occupy for long, the Prince of Wales returned to Bordeaux with his army and his prisoner Du Guesclin, whom he treated courteously, at the same time that he kept him pretty strictly. One of the English chieftains who had been connected with Du Guesclin at the time of his expedition into Spain, Sir Hugh Calverley, tried one day to induce the Prince of Wales to set the French warrior at liberty. "Sir," said he, "Bertrand is a right loyal knight, but he is not a rich man, or in estate to pay much money; he would have good need to end his captivity on easy terms." "Let be," said the prince; "I have no care to take aught of his; I will cause his life to be prolonged in spite of himself: if he were released, he would be in battle again, and always a-making war." After supper, Hugh, without any beating about the bush, told Bertrand the prince's answer. "Sir," he said, "I cannot bring about your release." "Sir," said Bertrand, "think no more of it; I will leave the matter to the decision of God, who is a good and just master." Some time after, Du Guesclin having sent a request to the Prince of Wales to admit him to ransom, the prince, one day when he was in a gay humor, had him brought up, and told him that his advisers had urged him not to give him his liberty so long as the war between France and England lasted. "Sir," said Du Guesclin to him, "then am I the most honored knight in the world, for they say, in the kingdom of France and elsewhere, that you are more afraid of me than of any other." "Think you, then, it is for your knighthood that we do keep you?" said the prince: "nay, by St. George; fix you your own ransom, and you shall be released." Du Guesclin proudly fixed his ransom at a hundred thousand francs, which seemed a large sum even to the Prince of Wales. "Sir," said Du Guesclin to him, "the king in whose keeping is France will lend me what I lack, and there is not a spinning wench in France who would not spin to gain for me what is necessary to put me out of your clutches." The advisers of the Prince of Wales would have had him think better of it, and break his promise; but "that which we have agreed to with him we will hold to," said the prince; "it would be shame and confusion of face to us if we could be reproached with not setting him to ransom when he is ready to set himself down at so much as to pay a hundred thousand francs." Prince and knight were both as good as their word. Du Guesclin found amongst his Breton friends a portion of the sum he wanted; King Charles V. lent him thirty thousand Spanish doubloons, which, by a deed of December 27, 1367, Du Guesclin undertook to repay; and at the beginning of 1368 the Prince of Wales set the French warrior at liberty.

The first use Du Guesclin made of it was to go and put his name and his sword at the service first of the Duke of Anjou, governor of Languedoc, who was making war in Provence against Queen Joan of Naples, and then of his Spanish patron, Henry of Transtamare, who had recommenced the war in Spain against his brother, Pedro the Cruel, whom he was before long to dethrone for the second time and slay with his own hand. But whilst Du Guesclin was taking part in this settlement of the Spanish question, important events called him back to the north of the Pyrenees for the service of his own king, the defence of his own country, and the aggrandizement of his own fortunes. The English and Gascon bands which, in 1367, had recrossed the Pyrenees with the Prince of Wales, after having restored Don Pedro the Cruel to the throne of Castile had not disappeared. Having no more to do in their own prince's service, they had spread abroad over France, which they called "their apartment," and recommenced, in the countries between the Seine and the Loire, their life of vagabondage and pillage. A general outcry was raised; it was the Prince of Wales, men said, who had let them loose, and the people called them the host (army) of England. A proceeding of the Prince of Wales himself had the effect of adding to the rage of the people that of the aristocratic classes. He was lavish of expenditure, and held at Bordeaux a magnificent court, for which the revenues from his domains and ordinary resources were insufficient; so he imposed a tax for five years of ten sous per hearth or family, "in order to satisfy," he said, "the large claims against him." In order to levy this tax legally, he convoked the estates of Aquitaine, first at Niort, and then, successively, at Angouleme, Poitiers, Bordeaux, and Bergerac; but nowhere could he obtain the vote he demanded. "When we obeyed the King of France," said the Gascons, "we were never so aggrieved with subsidies, hearth-taxes, or gabels, and we will not be, as long as we can defend ourselves." The Prince of Wales persisted in his demands. He was ill and irritable, and was becoming truly the Black Prince. The Aquitanians too became irritated. The prince's more temperate advisers, even those of English birth, tried in vain to move him from his stubborn course. Even John Chandos, the most notable as well as the wisest of them, failed, and withdrew to his domain of St. Sauveur, in Normandy, that he might have nothing to do with measures of which he disapproved. Being driven to extremity, the principal lords of Aquitaine, the Counts of Comminges, of Armagnac, of Perigord, and many barons besides, set out for France, and made complaint, on the 30th of June, 1368, before Charles V. and his peers, "on account of the grievances which the Prince of Wales was purposed to put upon them." They had recourse, they said, to the King of France as their sovereign lord, who had no power to renounce his suzerainty or the jurisdiction of his court of peers and of his parliament.

Nothing could have corresponded better with the wishes of Charles V. For eight years past he had taken to heart the treaty of Bretigny, and he was as determined not to miss as he was patient in waiting for an opportunity for a breach of it. But he was too prudent to act with a precipitation which would have given his conduct an appearance of a premeditated and deep-laid purpose for which there was no legitimate ground. He did not care to entertain at once and unreservedly the appeal of the Aquitanian lords. He gave them a gracious reception, and made them "great cheer and rich gifts;" but he announced his intention of thoroughly examining the stipulations of the treaty of Bretigny, and the rights of his kingship. "He sent for into his council chamber all the charters of the peace, and then he had them read on several days and at full leisure." He called into consultation the schools of Boulogne, of Montpellier, of Toulouse, and of Orleans, and the most learned clerks of the papal court. It was not until he had thus ascertained the legal means of maintaining that the stipulations of the treaty of Bretigny had not all of them been performed by the King of England, and that, consequently, the King of France had not lost all his rights of suzerainty over the ceded provinces, that on the 25th of January, 1369, just six months after the appeal of the Aquitanian lords had been submitted to him, he adopted it, in the following terms, which he addressed to the Prince of Wales, at Bordeaux, and which are here curtailed in their legal expressions:—

"Charles, by the grace of God King of France, to our nephew the Prince of Wales and of Aquitaine, greeting. Whereas many prelates, barons, knights, universities, communes, and colleges of the country of Gascony and the duchy of Aquitaine, have come thence into our presence, that they might have justice touching certain undue grievances and vexations which you, through weak counsel and silly advice, have designed to impose upon them, whereat we are quite astounded, . . . we, of our kingly majesty and lordship, do command you to come to our city of Paris, in your own person, and to present yourself before us in our chamber of peers, for to hear justice touching the said complaints and grievances proposed by you to be done to your people which claims to have resort to our court. . . And be it as quickly as you may."

"When the Prince of Wales had read this letter," says Froissart, "he shook his head, and looked askant at the aforesaid Frenchmen; and when he had thought a while, he answered, 'We will go willingly, at our own time, since the King of France doth bid us, but it shall be with our Basque on our head, and with sixty thousand men at our back.'"

This was a declaration of war; and deeds followed at once upon words. Edward III., after a short and fruitless attempt at an accommodation, assumed, on the 3d of June, 1369, the title of King of France, and ordered a levy of all his subjects between sixteen and sixty, laic or ecclesiastical, for the defence of England, threatened by a French fleet which was cruising in the Channel. He sent re-enforcements to the Prince of Wales, whose brother, the Duke of Lancaster, landed with an army at Calais; and he offered to all the adventurers with whom Europe was teeming possession of all the fiefs they could conquer in France. Charles V. on his side vigorously pushed forward his preparations; he had begun them before he showed his teeth, for as early as the 19th of July, 1368, he had sent into Spain ambassadors with orders to conclude an alliance with Henry of Transtamare against the King of England and his son, whom he called "the Duke of Aquitaine." On the 12th of April, 1369, he signed the treaty which, by a contract of marriage between his brother, Philip the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, and the Princess Marguerite of Flanders, transferred the latter rich province to the House of France. Lastly he summoned to Paris Du Guesclin, who since the recovery of his freedom had been fighting at one time in Spain, and at another in the south of France, and announced to him his intention of making him constable. "Dear sir and noble king," said the honest and modest Breton, "I do pray you to have me excused; I am a poor knight and petty bachelor. The office of constable is so grand and noble that he who would well discharge it should have had long previous practice and command, and rather over the great than the small. Here are my lords your brothers, your nephews, and your cousins, who will have charge of men-at-arms in the armies, and the rides afield, and how durst I lay commands on them? In sooth, sir, jealousies be so strong that I cannot well but be afeard of them. I do affectionately pray you to dispense with me, and to confer it upon another who will more willingly take it than I, and will know better how to fill it." "Sir Bertrand, Sir Bertrand," answered the king, "do not excuse yourself after this fashion; I have nor brother, nor cousin, nor nephew, nor count, nor baron in my kingdom, who would not obey you; and if any should do otherwise, he would anger me so that he would hear of it. Take, therefore, the office with a good heart, I do beseech you." Sir Bertrand saw well, says Froissart, "that his excuses were of no avail, and finally he assented to the king's opinion; but it was not without a struggle, and to his great disgust. . . . In order to give him further encouragement and advancement the king did set him close to him at table, showed him all the signs he could of affection, and gave him, together with the office, many handsome gifts and great estates for himself and his heirs." Charles V. might fearlessly lavish his gifts on the loyal warrior, for Du Guesclin felt nothing more binding upon him than to lavish them, in his turn, for the king's service. He gave numerous and sumptuous dinners to the barons, knights, and soldiers of every degree whom he was to command.
"At Bertrand's plate gazed every eye,
So massive, chased so gloriously,"


says the poet-chronicler Cuvelier; but Du Guesclin pledged it more than once, and sold a great portion of it, in order to pay "without fail the knights and honorable fighting-men of whom he was the leader."

The war thus renewed was hotly prosecuted on both sides. A sentiment of nationality became, from day to day, more keen and more general in France. At the commencement of hostilities, it burst forth particularly in the North; the burghers of Abbeville opened their gates to the Count of St. Poi, and in a single week St. Valery, Crotoy, and all the places in the countship of Ponthieu followed this example. The movement made progress before long in the South. Montauban and Milhau hoisted on their walls the royal standard; the Archbishop of Toulouse "went riding through the whole of Quercy, preaching and demonstrating the good cause of the King of France; and he converted, without striking a blow, Cahors and more than sixty towns, castles, or fortresses." Charles V. neglected no means of encouraging and keeping up the public impulse. It has been remarked that, as early as the 9th of May, 1369, he had convoked the states-general, declaring to them in person that "if they considered that he had done anything he ought not, they should say so, and he would amend it, for there was still time for reparation if he had done too much or not enough." He called a new meeting on the 7th of December, 1369, after the explosion of hostilities, and obtained from them the most extensive subsidies they had ever granted. They were as stanch to the king in principle as in purse, and their interpretations of the treaty of Bretigny went far beyond the grounds which Charles had put forward to justify war. It was not only on the upper classes and on political minds that the king endeavored to act; he paid attention also to popular impressions; he set on foot in Paris a series of processions, in which he took part in person, and the queen also, "barefoot and unsandaled, to pray God to graciously give heed to the doings and affairs of the kingdom."

But at the same time that he was thus making his appeal, throughout France and by every means, to the feeling of nationality, Charles remained faithful to the rule of conduct which had been inculcated in him by the experience of his youth; he recommended, nay, he commanded, all his military captains to avoid any general engagement with the English. It was not without great difficulty that he wrung obedience from the feudal nobility, who, more numerous very often than the English, looked upon such a prohibition as an insult, and sometimes withdrew to their castles rather than submit to it; and even the king's brother, Philip the Bold, openly in Burgundy testified his displeasure at it. Du Guesclin, having more intelligence and firmness, even before becoming constable, and at the moment of quitting the Duke of Anjou at Toulouse, had advised him not to accept battle, to well fortify all the places that had been recovered, and to let the English scatter and waste themselves in a host of small expeditions and distant skirmishes constantly renewed. When once he was constable, Du Guesclin put determinedly in practice the king's maxim, calmly confident in his own fame for valor whenever he had to refuse to yield to the impatience of his comrades.

This detached and indecisive war lasted eight years, with a medley of more or less serious incidents, which, however, did not change its character. In 1370, the Prince of Wales laid siege to Limoges, which had opened its gates to the Duke of Berry. He was already so ill that he could not mount his horse, and had himself carried in a litter from post to post, to follow up and direct the operations of the siege. In spite of a month's resistance the prince took the place, and gave it up as a prey to a mob of reckless plunderers, whose excesses were such that Froissart himself, a spectator generally so indifferent, and leaning rather to the English, was deeply shocked. "There," said he, "was a great pity, for men, women, and children threw themselves on their knees before the prince, and cried, 'Mercy, gentle sir!' but he was so inflamed with passion that he gave no heed, and none, male or female, was listened to, but all were put to the sword. There is no heart so hard but, if present then at Limoges and not forgetful of God, would have wept bitterly, for more than three thousand persons, men, women, and children, were there beheaded on that day. May God receive their souls, for verily they were martyrs!" The massacre of Limoges caused, throughout France, a feeling of horror and indignant anger towards the English name. In 1373 an English army landed at Calais, under the command of the Duke of Lancaster, and overran nearly the whole of France, being incessantly harassed, however, without ever being attacked in force, and without mastering a single fortress. "Let them be," was the saying in the king's circle; "when a storm bursts out in a country, it leaves off afterwards and disperses of itself; and so it will be with these English." The sufferings and reverses of the English armies on this expedition were such, that, of thirty thousand horses which the English had landed at Calais, "they could not muster more than six thousand at Bordeaux, and had lost full a third of their men and more. There were seen noble knights, who had great possessions in their own country, toiling along a-foot, without armor, and begging their bread from door to door without getting any." In vain did Edward III. treat with the Duke of Brittany and the King of Navarre in order to have their support in this war. The Duke of Brittany, John IV., after having openly defied the King of France, his suzerain, was obliged to fly to England, and the King of Navarre entered upon negotiations alternately with Edward III. and Charles V., being always ready to betray either, according to what suited his interests at the moment. Tired of so many ineffectual efforts, Edward III. was twice obliged, between 1375 and 1377, to conclude with Charles V. a truce, just to give the two peoples, as well as the two kings, breathing-time; but the truces were as vain as the petty combats for the purpose of putting an end to this great struggle.

The great actors in this historical drama did not know how near were the days when they would be called away from this arena, still so crowded with their exploits or their reverses. A few weeks after the massacre of Limoges the Prince of Wales lost, at Bordeaux, his eldest son, six years old, whom he loved with all the tenderness of a veteran warrior, so much the more affected by gentle impressions as they were a rarity to him; and he was himself so ill that "his doctors advised him to return to England, his own land, saying that he would probably get better health there." Accordingly he left France, which he would never see again, and, on returning to England, he, after a few months' rest in the country, took an active part in Parliament in the home-policy of his country, and supported the opposition against the government of his father, who since the death of the queen, Philippa of Hainault, had been treating England to the spectacle of a scandalous old age closing a life of glory. Parliamentary contests soon exhausted the remaining strength of the Black Prince, and he died on the 8th of June, 1376, in possession of a popularity that never shifted, and was deserved by such qualities as showed a nature great indeed and generous, though often sullied by the fits of passion of a character harsh even to ferocity. "The good fortune of England," says his contemporary Walsingham, "seemed bound up with his person, for it flourished when he was well, fell off when he was ill, and vanished at his death. As long as he was on the spot the English feared neither the foe's invasion nor the meeting on the battle-field; but with him died all their hopes." A year after him, on the 21st of June, 1377, died his father, Edward III., a king who had been able, glorious, and fortunate for nearly half a century, but had fallen, towards the end of his life, into contempt with his people and into forgetfulness on the continent of Europe, where nothing was heard about him beyond whispers of an indolent old man's indulgent weaknesses to please a covetous mistress.

Whilst England thus lost her two great chiefs, France still kept hers. For three years longer Charles V. and Du Guesclin remained at the head of her government and her armies. The truce between the two kingdoms was still in force when the Prince of Wales died, and Charles, ever careful to practise knightly courtesy, had a solemn funeral service performed for him in the Sainte-Chapelle; but the following year, at the death of Edward III., the truce had expired. The Prince of Wales's young son, Richard II., succeeded his grandfather, and Charles, on the accession of a king who was a minor, was anxious to reap all the advantage be could hope from that fact. The war was pushed forward vigorously, and a French fleet cruised on the coast of England, ravaged the Isle of Wight, and burned Yarmouth, Dartmouth, Plymouth, Winchelsea, and Lewes. What Charles passionately desired was the recovery of Calais; he would have made considerable sacrifices to obtain it, and in the seclusion of his closet he displayed an intelligent activity in his efforts, by war or diplomacy, to attain this end. "He had," says Froissart, "couriers going a-horseback night and day, who, from one day to the next, brought him news from eighty or a hundred leagues' distance, by help of relays posted from town to town." This labor of the king had no success; on the whole the war prosecuted by Charles V. between Edward III.'s death and his own had no result of importance; the attempt, by law and arms, which he made in 1378, to make Brittany his own and reunite it to the crown, completely failed, thanks to the passion with which the Bretons, nobles, burgesses, and peasants, were attached to their country's independence. Charles V. actually ran a risk of embroiling himself with the hero of his reign; he had ordered Du Guesclin to reduce to submission the countship of Rennes, his native land, and he showed some temper because the constable not only did not succeed, but advised him to make peace with the Duke of Brittany and his party. Du Guesclin, grievously hurt, sent to the king his sword of constable, adding that he was about to withdraw to the court of Castile, to Henry of Transtamare, who would show more appreciation of his services. All Charles V.'s wisdom did not preserve him from one of those deeds of haughty levity which the handling of sovereign power sometimes causes even the wisest kings to commit, but reflection made him promptly acknowledge and retrieve his fault. He charged the Dukes of Anjou and Bourbon to go and, for his sake, conjure Du Guesclin to remain his constable; and, though some chroniclers declare that Du Guesclin refused, his will, dated the 9th of July, 1380, leads to a contrary belief, for in it he assumes the title of constable of France, and this will preceded the hero's death only by four days. Having fallen sick before Chateauneuf-Randon, a place he was besieging in the Gevaudan, Du Guesclin expired on the 13th of July, 1380, at sixty-six years of age, and his last words were an exhortation to the veteran captains around him "never to forget that, in whatsoever country they might be making war, churchmen, women, children, and the poor people were not their enemies." According to certain contemporary chronicles, or, one might almost say, legends, Chateauneuf-Randon was to be given up the day after Du Guesclin died. The marshal De Sancerre, who commanded the king's army, summoned the governor to surrender the place to him; but the governor replied that he had given his word to Du Guesclin, and would surrender to no other. He was told of the constable's death: "Very well," he rejoined, "I will carry the keys of the town to his tomb." To this the marshal agreed; the governor marched out of the place at the head of his garrison, passed through the besieging army, went and knelt down before Du Guesclin's corpse, and actually laid the keys of Chateauneuf-Randon on his bier.

This dramatic story is not sufficiently supported by authentic documents to be admitted as an historical fact; but there is to be found in an old chronicle concerning Du Guesclin [published for the first time at the end of the fifteenth century, and in a new edition by M. Francisque Michel in 1830] a story which, in spite of many discrepancies, confirms the principal fact of the keys of Chateauneuf-Randon being brought by the garrison to the bier. "At the decease of Sir Bertrand," says the chronicler, "a great cry arose throughout the host of the French. The English refused to give up the castle. The marshal, Louis de Sancerre, had the hostages brought to the ditches, for to have their heads struck off. But forthwith the people in the castle lowered their bridge, and the captain came and offered the keys to the marshal, who refused them, and said to him, 'Friends, you have your agreements with Sir Bertrand, and ye shall fulfil them to him.' 'God the Lord!' said the captain, 'you know well that Sir Bertrand, who was so much worth, is dead: how, then, should we surrender to him this castle? Verily, lord marshal, you do demand our dishonor when you would have us and our castle surrendered to a dead knight.' 'Needs no parley hereupon,' said the marshal, 'but do it at once, for, if you put forth more words, short will be the life of your hostages.' Well did the English see that it could not be otherwise; so they went forth all of them from the castle, their captain in front of them, and came to the marshal, who led them to the hostel where lay Sir Bertrand, and made them give up the keys and place them on his bier, sobbing the while: 'Let all know that there was there nor knight, nor squire, French or English, who showed not great mourning.'"

The body of Du Guesclin was carried to Paris to be interred at St. Denis, hard by the tomb which Charles V. had ordered to be made for himself; and nine years afterwards, in 1389, Charles V.'s successor, his son Charles VI., caused to be celebrated in the Breton warrior's honor a fresh funeral, at which the princes and grandees of the kingdom, and the young king himself, were present in state. The Bishop of Auxerre delivered the funeral oration over the constable; and a poet of the time, giving an account of the ceremony, says,
"The tears of princes fell,
What time the bishop said,
'Sir Bertrand loved ye well;
Weep, warriors, for the dead!
The knell of sorrow tolls
For deeds that were so bright:
God save all Christian souls,
And his—the gallant knight:"


The life, character, and name of Bertrand du Guesclin were and remained one of the most popular, patriotic, and legitimate boasts of the middle ages, then at their decline.

Two months after the constable's death, on the 16th of September, 1380, Charles V. died at the castle of Beaute-sur-Marne, near Vincennes, at forty-three years of age, quite young still after so stormy and hard-working a life. His contemporaries were convinced, and he was himself convinced, that he had been poisoned by his perfidious enemy, King Charles of Navarre. His uncle, Charles IV., Emperor of Germany, had sent him an able doctor, who "set him in good case and in manly strength," says Froissart, by effecting a permanent issue in his arm. "When this little sore," said he to him, "shall cease to discharge and shall dry up, you will die without help for it, and you will have at the most fifteen days' leisure to take counsel and thought for the soul." When the issue began to dry up, Charles knew that death was at hand; and "like a wise and valiant man as he was," says Froissart, "he set in order all his affairs, and sent for his three brothers, in whom he had most confidence, the Duke of Berry, the Duke of Burgundy, and the Duke of Bourbon, and he left in the lurch his second brother, the Duke of Anjou, because he considered him too covetous. 'My dear brothers,' said the king to them, 'I feel and know full well that I have not long to live. I do commend and give in charge to you my son Charles. Behave to him as good uncles should behave to their nephew. Crown him as soon as possible after my death, and counsel him loyally in all his affairs. The lad is young, and of a volatile spirit; he will need to be guided and governed by good doctrine; teach him or have him taught all the kingly points and states he will have to maintain, and marry him in such lofty station that the kingdom may be the better for it. Thank God, the affairs of our kingdom are in good case. The Duke of Brittany [John IV., called the Valiant] is a crafty and a slippery man, and he hath ever been more English than French; for which reason keep the nobles of Brittany and the good towns affectionate, and you will thus thwart his intentions. I am fond of the Bretons, for they have ever served me loyally, and helped to keep and defend my kingdom against my enemies. Make the lord Clisson constable, for, all considered, I see none more competent for it than he. As to those aids and taxes of the kingdom of France, wherewith the poorer folks are so burdened and aggrieved, deal with them according to your conscience, and take them off as soon as ever you can, for they are things which, although I have upheld them, do grieve me and weigh upon my heart; but the great wars and great matters which we have had on all sides caused me to countenance them."

Of all the dying speeches and confessions of kings to their family and their councillors, that which has just been put forward is the most practical, precise, and simple. Charles V., taking upon his shoulders at nineteen years of age, first as king's lieutenant and as dauphin, and afterwards as regent, the government of France, employed all his soul and his life in repairing the disasters arising from the wars of his predecessors and preventing any repetition. No sovereign was ever more resolutely pacific; he carried prudence even into the very practice of war, as was proved by his forbidding his generals to venture any general engagement with the English, so great a lesson and so deep an impression had he derived from the defeats of Crecy and Poitiers, and the causes which led to them. But without being a warrior, and without running any hazardous risks, he made himself respected and feared by his enemies. "Never was there king," said Edward III., "who handled arms less, and never was there king who gave me so much to do." When the condition of the kingdom was at the best, and more favorable circumstances led Charles to believe that the day had come for setting France free from the cruel conditions which had been imposed upon her by the treaty of Bretigny, he entered without hesitation upon that war of patriotic reparation; and, after the death of his two powerful enemies, Edward III. and the Black Prince, he was still prosecuting it, not without chance of success, when he himself died of the malady with which he had for a long while been afflicted. At his death he left in the royal treasury a surplus of seventeen million francs, a large sum for those days. Nor the labors of government, nor the expenses of war, nor far-sighted economy had prevented him from showing a serious interest in learned works and studies, and from giving effectual protection to the men who devoted themselves thereto. The University of Paris, notwithstanding the embarrassments it sometimes caused him, was always the object of his good-will. "He was a great lover of wisdom," says Christine de Pisan, "and when certain folks murmured for that he honored clerks so highly, he answered, 'So long as wisdom is honored in this realm, it will continue in prosperity; but when wisdom is thrust aside, it will go down.'" He collected nine hundred and fifty volumes (the first foundation of the loyal Library), which were deposited in a tower of the Louvre, called the library tower, and of which he, in 1373, had an inventory drawn up by his personal attendant, Gilles de Presle. His taste for literature and science was not confined to collecting manuscripts. He had a French translation made, for the sake of spreading a knowledge thereof, of the Bible in the first place, and then of several works of Aristotle, of Livy, of Valerius Maximus, of Vegetius, and of St. Augustine. He was fond of industry and the arts as well as of literature. Henry de Vic, a German clock-maker, constructed for him the first public clock ever seen in France, and it was placed in what was called the Clock Tower in the Palace of Justice; and the king even had a clock-maker by appointment, named Peter de St. Beathe. Several of the Paris monuments, churches, or buildings for public use were undertaken or completed under his care. He began the building of the Bastille, that fortress which was then so necessary for the safety of Paris, where it was to be, four centuries later, the object of the wrath and earliest excesses on the part of the populace. Charles the Wise, from whatever point of view he may be regarded, is, after Louis the Fat, Philip Augustus, St. Louis, and Philip the Handsome, the fifth of those kings who powerfully contributed to the settlement of France in Europe, and of the kingship in France. He was not the greatest nor the best, but, perhaps, the most honestly able. And at the same time he was a signal example of the shallowness and insufficiency of human abilities. Charles V., on his death-bed, considered that "the affairs of his kingdom were in good case;" he had not even a suspicion of that chaos of war, anarchy, reverses and ruin into which they were about to fall, in the reign of his son, Charles VI.

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